CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) - Drivers and downtown Chicopee business owners are ready to celebrate the Davitt Memorial Bridge re-opening this Summer. The project is running about a year ahead of schedule, and is set to open to vehicle traffic by July 27, or perhaps even sooner.
Mayor Michael Bissonnette told 22News that workers have been at it for 60 hours a week instead of 40, and as a result, they have made amazing progress on the bridge .
The Davitt Bridge is one of the city's major bridges; carrying Route 116 over the Chicopee River and connecting Front and Springfield Streets in Chicopee Center with Chicopee Street and Granby Road on the north side of the river.
Bissonnette says that the impact of the bridge closing on downtown business has been less than what was originally feared.
"Remarkably, downtown has survived the bridge closing as well as anyone could expect," the Mayor said.
Still, the bridge closing was especially critical for one of Chicopee's newest downtown businesses; Evelyn's Bakery. Owner Israel Vargas told 22News that they had opened near the bridge barely one year before work started last summer, and the survival of his business was in doubt.
"At first we were a little worried, but we just had to find different alternatives," Vargas said.
"We've been here two years now, and the bridge is getting ready to open. We should be preparing for a different rush now that the people will be traveling by here."
You can tell that the $8 million construction project is nearly completed, as the walkways are now open and people are taking advantage of it.